Ashraf Ghani thanked the United States for what they gave to his country “freedom and hope”
On Monday, March 23 at Camp David (Maryland), country residence of the President of the United States, talks were held between senior representatives of the US administration and the leaders of Afghanistan - President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Abdullah Abdullah.
The aim of the talks, which were attended by US Secretary of State Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and the Minister of Finance Jack Lew, was to improve bilateral relations deteriorated over the 14 years of war, because often there is a disagreement between the US administration and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
On the same day, the leaders of Afghanistan held a press conference at which he dealt with the revival of the partnership between the two countries.
The sides discussed security issues of concern to the Afghan president. Defense Minister Carter said that the department headed by him will try to solicit funds, so that the Afghan National Security Forces in the amount of 352 thousand people continued to operate at least until the end of 2017 fiscal year. According to Ashton, the command of the Afghan forces and coalition forces has recommended just such a number of personnel to ensure the safety of the country.
The parties agreed that the Afghan government will hold a number of specific reforms and a number of other conditions, get up to $ 800 million to address these problems. According to US officials, the Afghan side proposed financing option, based on the principle of incentives. The two leaders also announced their intention to resume regular meetings at the level of ministers of foreign affairs and defense.
In Afghanistan, the remains of about 9,800 US military advising and train their Afghan counterparts. The last combat units were withdrawn from the country late last year. President Obama announced the upcoming reduction in the size of the US military to 5,500 people by the end of the year. By the beginning of 2017, when his presidential term, the number of US troops in Afghanistan will be even less. Schedule and timetable for withdrawing troops is one of the main topics of the talks between the two countries.
Gani refrained from answering the question of “Voice of America” ‚Äč‚Äčabout what number of American troops he believes sufficient.
“We stressed the fact that we are strategic partners,” - said the Afghan leader. Referring to the opinion of experts, including - employees of the Ministry of Defense, he stressed that “the figures - is a means, not an end in itself.”
Neither Kerry nor Carter did not comment slowed down the process of withdrawal of US troops, noting that this issue will be discussed on Tuesday when Ghani and Abdullah to meet with President Obama and Vice President Biden.
As stated by Ashraf Ghani, the US-Afghan partnership has a solid foundation. Afghan leader expressed his gratitude to the US for what they gave to his country “freedom and hope.”